Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

The Sciences

#100: Portrait of a Violent Star

By Andrew GrantDecember 16, 2010 6:00 AM
star.jpg
Courtesy of NASA/JPL Caltech/WISE Team

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

This ultraviolet image of the sun was captured by the NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), launched last February to monitor Earth’s temperamental star with unprecedented precision. The purplish aura reveals high-arcing loops of 3.6-million-degree plasma that link sunspots and other magnetic areas on the surface; white lines illustrate computer calculations of how the magnetic areas connect. Occasionally eruptions on the sun are so powerful that they can cripple Earth’s electrical grids and global positioning satellites. SDO’s observations will help scientists understand the mechanism behind these outbursts—research that is particularly important as the sun awakens from its longest slumber in a century (see “Plasma Rivers Explain the Quiet Sun”).

2 Free Articles Left

Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 70%

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In